Thanksgiving TV Goes to the Dogs

all-star dog rescue celebration thanksgiving special

If you’re a dog lover who would prefer to watch something on Thanksgiving that isn’t football, you’re in luck. Canines will be featured in three TV specials airing on Turkey Day.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s these two giant dog balloons in the 89th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

  • Snoopy & Woodstock — Snoopy will be making his 39th appearance in the parade this year (or his 273rd appearance, in dog years). In fact, Snoopy holds the parade record for the most appearances by a character.
  • Finn & Jake — Look for Finn riding his magical dog, Jake, from the Cartoon Network series,”Adventure Time.” It’s their third appearance in the parade.

Since 2015 happens to be the 50th anniversary of the beloved “A Charlie Brown Christmas” TV special (and the 65th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strip), there will be a new “Snoopy’s Doghouse” float, featuring Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and, of course, Snoopy and his decked-out abode.

NBC, 9 a.m. to noon in all time zones

snoopy balloon macy's thanksgiving parade

The National Dog Show

Don’t touch that dial! Immediately after Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC will air The National Dog Show Presented by Purina.”

The following seven breeds that were added to the American Kennel Club (AKC) registry this year will participate for the first time ever:

  • Bergamasco: Sheepdog whose most unique characteristic is its coat, which contains “dog hair,” “goat hair” and “wool” combining to form felt-like mats. The mats grow over the course of the dog’s life, reaching the ground at approximately 6 years of age.
  • Berger Picard: A medium-sized, active and athletic herding dog, it is bred to be a working companion. It has a shaggy, wiry topcoat with a short, dense undercoat.
  • Boerboel: A large dog that is strong, confident and muscular with a distinctive, blocky head. It is the most agile of the Mastiff-type breeds. It serves as a capable working dog as well as a loyal companion.
  • Cirneco dell’Etna: Present in Sicily for over 2,500 years, it shares a common origin with the Pharaoh Hound. As a hunter of small mammals and fowl, it is a hardy, compact dog that was successful in hunting under adverse conditions.
  • Lagotto Romagnolo: An ancient breed of retrieving water dogs from Italy. It is excellent at for searching for truffles, a job it performs with passion and efficiency. Powerfully built, it has a dense, curly coat of woolly texture.
  • Miniature American Shepherd: Small herding dog developed in the U.S. It is a highly versatile, energetic dog with superior intelligence and a willingness to please.
  • Spanish Water Dog: A rustic, multi-purpose breed, it was developed in Spain many centuries ago for a variety of purposes including herding, hunting, water work and companionship.

The two-hour telecast won’t include every breed, so don’t be disappointed if your favorites are edited out. Sponsored by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, the competition was actually taped earlier this month. It’s being co-hosted for the 14th time by actor John O’Hurley and canine expert David Frei.

And remember, whether you’re thinking about getting a purebred or a good ol’ mutt — adopt, don’t shop!

For you cat lovers, here’s a behind-the-scenes video of felines Jerry and Snowball previewing the “National Dog Show.” Meeeow.

NBC, noon to 2 p.m. in all time zones

The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration

Thanksgiving night, Kaley Cuoco of “The Big Bang Theory” will host the pet adoption special, “The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration” on FOX.

A similar special, “FOX’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular,” aired for the first time on Thanksgiving night last year. More than 4,500 adoption applications were submitted for the featured dogs.

I hoped at the time that this special would become as traditional as a slice of pumpkin pie after dinner, and apparently this is coming true. (Now, that’s something to be thankful for.)

During the two-hour show, viewers will be provided with information about adoptable pets in their local areas. If you can’t adopt a pet, a toll-free number will be provided so you can donate to the Petfinder Foundation, which supports shelters and rescue groups across the country.

Among the stars scheduled to appear are Miley Cyrus, Scarlett Johannson, Sia, Kathy Griffin and more. They will introduce adoptable dogs and honor people who have dedicated their lives to caring for animals in need.

Pedigree Food for Dogs, the show’s official sponsor again this year, will present a Cutest Puppy Award. You can vote online for your favorite or tweet the puppy’s hashtag. The winner will be announced online after the broadcast.

FOX, 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT

Photos:; Macy’s, Inc.

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!